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Indian Constitution 'forced' on Goa after liberation: Cong candidate

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: April 23, 2024 09:51 IST
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Congress's South Goa candidate Viriato Fernandes has claimed the Indian Constitution was 'forced' on Goa after its liberation from the Portuguese rule in 1961.

IMAGE: Congress candidate from South Goa, Viriato Fernandes files his nomination papers for the Lok Sabha Elections, at Madgaon on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

As his comments drew criticism from Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Fernandes said his words should not be twisted for political mileage and he was ready for a debate on his statement as well as on issues like 'destruction of Goa's identity', unemployment, inflation, crime and corruption.

Addressing an election meeting in South Goa on Monday, Fernandes recalled that then-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had said Goa, which became a state in 1987, will decide its own destiny, but added 'this did not happen'.


Referring to his conversation with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Fernandes said he had told him, "When Goa was liberated in the year 1961, the Indian Constitution was forced upon us."

Fernandes was then part of an NGO, 'Goencho Away', which was pressing for dual citizenship for Goans who have opted for Portuguese passports.

"We (during a meeting with Gandhi in a hotel near Panaji) raised 12 demands before Gandhi, and one of them was about (granting) dual citizenship. Gandhi asked me whether the demand was constitutional. We said no," he told the gathering.

Fernandes said the Congress MP told them the demand would not be considered if it was not constitutional.

"I explained to him that the Indian Constitution came into force on January 26, 1950. When Goa was liberated from the Portuguese rule in 1961, you (referring to then central government) forced the Constitution on us. We were not included in it," he said.

Fernandes said he recalled a speech of Gandhi's grandfather (Nehru) in which he said that post-liberation Goa will decide its own destiny.

"But our destiny was decided by someone else," he opined.

Chief Minister Sawant took to social media platform X to hit out at the Congress candidate and his party.

'I am appalled by the comments from Congress's South Goa candidate claiming the Indian Constitution was forcefully imposed upon Goans. Our freedom fighters believed wholeheartedly that Goa is an inseparable part of India. Congress delayed Goa's liberation by 14 years. Now, their candidate dares to undermine the Indian Constitution?' the BJP leader said in the post.

Sawant asked the opposition party to stop what he called its politics of 'breaking up' the country.

'(The) Congress must stop this reckless Bharat Todo politics immediately. (The) Congress is a threat to our democracy,' the CM added.

Responding to Sawant's post, Fernandes on his X handle said, 'Dear @goacm, Dont try to twist and turn selective words from my speech to get political mileage & spread venom. I am ready for an open Debate on what i spoke as well as issues of Destruction of Identity of Goa, Rise in Unemployment, Inflation, Crimes & Corruption under @BJP4India .'

Leader of Opposition in the Goa assembly, Yuri Alemao, came out in support of his party nominee and said the BJP has no moral right to speak on the Constitution.

Alemao in a post on X said, '@goacm @DrPramodPSawant 's @BJP4Goa Govt was formed with Murder of Constitution. @BJP4India which engineered Defections all across Country have no moral right to speak on Constitution. Lets speak on Crimes, Unemployment, Inflation, Corruption, Destruction of Goa by BJP in 10 yrs.'

Goa, which has two Lok Sabha seats, will vote on May 7 in the third phase of polling.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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